Monday, December 24, 2012

Hopefully you've finished shopping

While your wrapping your gifts, here a Christmas Jukebox to put you in that holiday mood.

Je ne regrette rien

Henri the Existential Cat wanted to share with you his holiday greetings in his new short - The Worst Noël.

Tonight's' holiday special: The meaning of the holiday.

December 24, 1940 -
George Cukor's classic film-comedy The Philadelphia Story, starring Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, premiered on this date.

Katharine Hepburn asked MGM to cast Clark Gable as Dexter and Spencer Tracy as Mike before she met either of them. Both Gable and Tracy were busy with other projects, so Cary Grant and James Stewart were cast instead.

December 24, 1951 -
Gian Carlo Menotti's Amahl and the Night Visitors became a Christmas classic on this date.

This was the first Christmas television program to become an annual tradition, although it switched cast members every so often. "Amahl" was telecast annually from 1951 through 1966. It was discontinued afterwards and did not appear again on American television until a new production was filmed on location and telecast in 1978.

December 24, 1953 -
Jack Webb's series Dragnet aired a special episode, The Big Little Jesus on this date.

The episode was network television's first half-hour color film. It was the only color show of the series. Those of you with very sharp eyes can tell with some prompting that this is not the color episode. Sorry about that.

Today in History:
December 24, 1818 -
The classic Christmas carol, Silent Night, was first performed on this date.

At St. Nicholas Church in Oberndorff, Austria, Franz Gruber, composed on his guitar the melody for Silent Night. The music was combined with the words from Joseph Mohr's poem, Stille Nacht.

December 24, 1865 -
Southern whitefolk united together to form a service organization wherein they consort with other southern whitefolk on this date.

Members participate in festive cruciform fire ceremonies and lively negro butcherings.

By the 1920's membership in the Ku Klux Klan reaches an astonishing two million.

December 24, 1867 -
This was the first time that the R.H. Macy's department store in New York City remained open until midnight to catch last-minute shoppers.

Things never change.

December 24, 1914 -
World War I was only months old on Christmas Eve 1914 when an extraordinary unofficial truce occurred in many places along the Western Front. "We were all moved and felt quite melancholy," wrote one German soldier, "each of us taken up with his own thoughts of home." German and English troops, often less than one hundred yards from each other, set aside warfare to trade Christmas greetings and sing familiar carols in two languages (If you remember correctly, most of the major players in this war were more than just on a first name basis - they were all related to a minor German prince who happened to be married to his cousin, the Queen of England.)

The truce, probably observed by two-thirds of the British and German troops, ended with the holiday, but reasserted the basic decency of ordinary men like these British and German soldiers caught up in war.

December 24, 1954 -
Rock musician Johnny Ace plays a little .45 calibre solitaire (Russian Roulette) at City Auditorium in Houston after a concert.


He thought it would impress his girlfriend - perhaps it did.

December 24, 1968 -
Apollo VIII astronauts read passages from the Old Testament Book of Genesis and transmitting a message to all mankind calling for 'peace on earth', during a Christmas Eve television broadcast. The three astronauts, James A. Lovell, William Anders and Frank Borman (our friend with the messy space suit,) had reached the moon.

They would orbit the moon ten times, paving the way for the first Earthling to walk on the lunar surface some seven months down the road .

December 24, 1985 -
Fidel Castro announces that he has given up cigars on this date.

Santa still leaves him a lump of something (I'm not saying what) in his stocking every Christmas.

You'd better hurry up and finish your shopping before I start explaining how the War of 1812 was resolved by the Treaty of Ghenet on this date in 1814 and yet the Battle of New Orleans took place on January 8, 1815, after the treaty was signed.

Here's one of the only known photos of  Dr. Caligari (and his partner in crime) performing his little known Brechtian Cabaret act in the Weimar Republic - Oh Christmas, warum Sie immer uns im Stich gelassen?

And so it goes

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